Multiple Tables scenario

Updated with recent scenario gameplay photos and commentary 12/20/2014.

While most WR scenario tabletop games are played on a single table set up, WR on occasion, has used a double “independent but linked” table setup to create a different feel for the action. A double (or even triple) table set up is simply two or three tables in the same or different rooms to have players play independent scenario games and have the ability to transfer units (whole commands in general) from the rear flanking edges of one tabletop to the open flank on another tabletop, with or without a timing arrival delay. Each tabletop zone is played independently to the other tabletop zone. Game playing speed and turn count  done independently. Weather and ground conditions should be the same for both tabletop zones. Players may or may not have the ability to see or hear the action from the other table. A dividing curtain is a nice touch to raise the battle tension. Armies used can be different or uniform to each tabletop zone. Tabletop unit density should be light to allow unit movements and quick sharp action with possible delayed reinforcements for each side on all, some or none per table zone. Cunning Game Masters (GM’s) can create a situation of starting weakness on one tabletop and allow that team side to pre-determine which tabletop zone will receive later reinforcement commands to change the fortunes on that tabletop… even after the enemy has transferred units to the other tabletop zone, thus a late resurgence to retake control or dispute a tabletop zone with their reinforcements.

Two table variant: The two table zone scenario variant uses two tables independent of each other but linked with the ability to transfer units from the enemy’s rear side zones into the enemy flank zones on the other table zone. Seems the old “orange” color on WR’s document diagram has faded over the years to near pink / crimson. The two table arrangement diagram:

Double Table diagram

Double Table diagram (.pdf)

Scenario map and tabletop size: WR commonly uses either a 6 x 5 foot table or 8 x 6 foot table design. The key is minimum depth of 5 feet to have a middle ground for the battling divisions (single corps per side on each table normally). The larger 8 foot width table could have one foot table edge “no go” zones to allow the enemy units to enter the tabletop without immediately being forced to engage enemy units. The scenario terrain maps for each tabletop zone should be reasonably balanced and have no large area terrain which would block the exiting or arrival of flanking units along the tabletop edges. Each table back edge should have at least one road or pathway entrance point for LOC determination and reinforcement arrival.

Uneven forces: WR recommends that each separate tabletop zone have a situation of uneven points or units on each tabletop zone. One side should have better units, more points to purchase their commands, or more players if even points per player. Each team side should have equal opportunity to be outnumbered on one tabletop and outnumber their opponents on others. This creates the opportunity for the larger side to transfer units to the other battle zone unless their weaker opponent can contain them on the starting tabletop zone. WR commonly uses his Napoleonic Command Generation system for these scenarios then allows the player / team side to assign a portion of the force composition as initial commands, per tabletop zone, and the reminder as reinforcement commands (with some sort of delayed arrival determined by dice roll or chit pick). Napoleonic Command Generation system (NCG).

Reinforcements: GMs may design scenario with reinforcement commands or allow player teams to withhold commands from the initial on-table deployment. These reinforcement commands enter tabletop back edge within six inches (6″) of nominated roadway entrance point and one turn delay (assumed to be positioned just off the rear edge). Maximum of one reserve reinforcement command per turn can enter the tabletop. Players should predestinate each reserve command which tabletop zone they are marching towards, with option to march towards the other tabletop zone (change destination) with three (3) turn delay. If enemy units block their road entrance, automatic one turn additional delay, and then can enter two feet from the tabletop edge road entrance point. Strategic or battle march mode still applies and can cause addition turn delay changing between modes (if desired). Default orders are March order unless previously changed during off board marching or GM scenario notes.

Orders and Weather: Initial orders are determined by GM. Default order is March order if not specified by GM scenario notes. Weather is determined by GM scenario notes or rolled on random weather chart and common to each tabletop zone.

Morale Fatigue Points (MFP): The Morale Fatigue Points system is independently used for each tabletop zone. Initial commands create the starting MFP pool level. Arriving units or commands add their MFP value to the cumulative pool. Departing or exiting units or commands subtract from the cumulative pool. Each game turn hour determine the status of MFP usage (orders), and if exceeded, start the slow hourly CMR adjustment decline. Additional information can be read on this link:  Morale Fatigue Points

Exiting the tabletop zone: Simply march off the correct color code edge for the player or team side. Side One player or team side exit units via the yellow edge zone. Side Two player or team side exit units the orange edge zone. Simply measure and normally march off the tabletop and place the entire unit off-board if any part exits the tabletop. Place these units on a designated cleared side table space till placed (march) on the other tabletop zone. Note that the central back edge doesn’t have the color coded zone. Units or commands which exit via the unmarked back edge are assumed to be pursuing the retreating enemy commands, are out of play for the scenario, and cannot return or transfer towards the other tabletop. They will prevent the return of any units which left the tabletop and block, via engagement off table, the arrival of late arriving enemy reinforcement commands. Note that friendly commands or units cannot exit via the opponent’s exit zone to reinforce their fellow player / team side deployment zone on the other tabletop zone.

Transit time delay: Normally WR plays with one game turn arrival delay or staging transfer zone between different scenario tables. GM’s can increase or remove the arrival delay if desired. Units without arrival delay will appear and march on next available player / team side Movement Phase for that tabletop zone. Delayed arrival is noted on the tabletop zone turn record chart. Opponent player / team side are notified the turn before arrival, if possible, that an enemy formation is positioned just off the table edge during the MFP or Cavalry Charge Declaration Phase just before their next Movement Phase (seeing dust etc.). Declared arrival causes an automatic “cavalry charge zone” effect for 12″ from the table edge entrance point. This charge zone only affects enemy unit movement and causes no morale checks. Arriving cavalry may not declare a charge from off table and charge move on to the tabletop during the Shock Phase. Wicked GM’s like WR could use a dice method, or chit pick, to determine the delay or base the delay on national characteristics modifiers, commander ratings etc.. (French are better than Spanish etc). GMs also get to decide if the player / team side have any prior knowledge to the arrival announcement described above…unit count, size of transfer, types of units based upon weather, terrain clearance, visibility etc. GM generated false reports are always fun to toss into the scenario player thought processes. ADC’s may come in handy to spot and report early arrivals if sent off table into the transfer zone (and remain in play from their Command Phase random fate rolls). A d10 Command Phase roll of 9 or 10 removes them if placed in off table transfer zone.

Transfer is one-way directional: Transferred units or commands cannot return to their original tabletop zone. GM’s could change this if desired.

Arrival location determination (double table format): When the command or units are available to enter the other tabletop scenario board, roll a d6 and consult table below for actual tabletop entrance point:

1).  Enemy player(s) at arriving table select which map / tabletop side entrance edge is used (either odd or even map edges as marked on drawing).

2). Units enter on Even map / tabletop edge.

3). Units enter on Odd map / tabletop edge.

4). Units enter on Even map / tabletop edge.

5). Units enter on Odd map / tabletop edge.

6). Unit owning player selects which map / tabletop side entrance edge is used (either odd or even map edges as marked on drawing.

Once the 1st unit arrives, all other units transferred from the other tabletop arrive at the same determined location. Only one flank is vulnerable to enemy flank attack unless using a triple table setup.

This d6 roll is only used for the double table arrangement. The reason for the variety of entrance points is the arrival battlefield may not have the same battle lines compass orientation as the departed battlefield.

Game turn time inter-tabletop: Each tabletop zone has independent game turn timing. Once the unit or command exits one tabletop zone, it arrives using the arriving tabletop zone game turn time recordkeeping plus any delay. For determination of any arrival transfer delay, use the destination tabletop game turn clock for timing arrival.

Player control of units: Unless an entire command exits one tabletop zone to enter the other, the owning player releases movement, firing, and command control of the individual units to one of his fellow team side players assigned to the arrival tabletop zone. This prevents game play delays of a player walking back and forth between the table setups. Commander or officers miniatures can only be on one or the other tabletop to influence units.

Inter-table command morale: Units still suffer the 20, 40 or 60% command loss levels, loss of senior command and Line of Communication (LOC) morale / combative effects even if fighting on a split tabletop zones. Public information to all players. Generally on corps or higher senior command HQ draws a LOC along roadways so individual divisional or brigade commands normally are not affected by LOC rules. Units which arrive via flank marching follow the morale rout movement rules for that tabletop. They will attempt to rout towards their friendly forces on that tabletop. Player should use common sense to determine broken units retreat paths… directly away from enemy frontal arc then towards nearest residing friendly table edge.

Ammunition supply: Artillery battery resupply still comes from direct contact with their senior command train unit whichever board the train is located on. Ammunition supply rules for infantry battalions applied based upon this formula; One foot for each turn arrival delay + measurement on both tabletops to train and unit from table edge = supply train distance. Example: A one turn delay means one foot of measured distance across the transfer zone plus the actual measured tabletop distances.

Three table variant: Basically the same for the double table arrangement but now the flow chart requires a central battlefield tabletop zone and two side or flank table zones. Note the random entrance d6 roll used with the double table arrangement is omitted as flank entrance point is pre-determined. The three table arrangement diagram: Triple Table diagram Triple Table diagram (.pdf)

Terrain objective markers: WR uses two sets of three markers each for terrain objective markers per tabletop zone. These markers are only revealed just to the owning player or team side when they occupy the same ground as the marker, with a close order formation, during the game turn Command Phases. Set of three markers has three different values marked; five (5) VP, three (3) VP, and zero VP hidden on underneath side of heavy metal washers.

Victory point markers with points displayed underneath.

Victory point markers with points displayed underneath. A player / team side set has 5 VP, 3 VP and zero VP markings.

Placement of these terrain objective markers is done anywhere on the opponents half side of the tabletop zone except the last foot of the tabletop back edge. Should be a physical modeled vertical terrain feature nearby, placed on the tabletop, and not just plain open or slightly sloped ground. Area terrain (woods, hill, vineyards but no marsh or swamp) has the marker placed dead center in the terrain keeping above marker placement restrictions in mind. Common roads, pathways, fords, bridges, or narrow linear passageways preferably at junctions or crossing. Ownership control is defined as the last close order unit to occupy or pass across the marker’s position at scenario end. A unit is not required to be standing atop the marker for the VPs at scenario end. GMs decides if the player / team side have prior knowledge of the actual marker VP value prior to placement or use a random draw and hidden placement method but each table has the normal (three values) set place thereon.

Victory Determination: Control of both tabletop zone and cause more enemy losses could be a starting point. Specific locations or terrain features can be given victory points towards a combined score. Enemy losses based upon command percentage losses another method. GM’s normally would determine the victory conditions prior to scenario start. Highest score or conditional rating is the winning player or team side. For example, WR has used the following table before:

5 VP for complete control of each tabletop zone at scenario end. No enemy units present on tabletop at scenario end. Each tabletop zone determined separately.

6 VP   for each enemy infantry or mixed command at 60% loss or greater.

4 VP   for each enemy infantry or mixed command at 40-60% losses.

2 VP   for each enemy infantry or mixed command at 20-40% losses.

3 VP   for each enemy pure cavalry command at 60% loss or greater.

2 VP   for each enemy pure cavalry command at 40-60% losses.

1 VP   for each enemy pure cavalry command at 20-40% losses.

? VP   for specifically placed terrain objectives (5 VP, 3 VP, 0 VP outlined above) controlled, at scenario end, on contested or controlled tabletop zones.

Happy scenario gaming and cheers from the warren this Thanksgiving holiday.


Copy of the above text in (.doc): Multiple table scenarios

Update Material 12/20/2014 and link to scenario play report:  Multiple Table Scenario AAR

Last weekend the monthly napoleonic gaming group met in Bob’s garage and scenario tested the multiple table format. Several photos below and some commentary of the tabletop action.

General view of Table A & B at Bob's monthly game day. Austrian vs. French battle in foreground, Dutch vs. Bavarian in background.

General view of Table A & B at last Bob’s monthly napoleonic game day.
Austrian vs. French battle in foreground (Table A),  Dutch vs. Bavarian in background (Table B).

Another view showing the two scenario battles independently side by side with unit transfer capabilities.

Another view showing the two scenario battles independently side by side with unit transfer capabilities.

First zonal transfers. Two regiment from Daniel's left division rode off the left flank and two regiments from the Bavarian light cavalry division.

First zonal transfers. Two regiments from Daniel’s left infantry division rode off the left flank and two regiments from the Bavarian light cavalry division on the right flank.

Table A. Are the Austrians saved? The zonal transferred Bavarian light cavalry arrives behind the French right flank. Their reserve French infantry and cuirassier divisions are turned to face the small Bavarian force.

Table A. Are the Austrians saved? The zonal transferred Bavarian light cavalry arrives behind the French right flank. Their reserve French infantry and cuirassier divisions are turned to face the small Bavarian force.


One thought on “Multiple Tables scenario

  1. These kinds of scenarios are a fun change, as players have to make key decisions at a higher level. Myself, I’d certainly let players dither about transferring commands back and forth as much as they like – Compte D’Erlon, anyone?

    The most extreme example of this concept is Russ Lockwood’s “Campaign in a Day” concept. I’ve done two of these now, March 1809 and August, 1813, and both were a blast. We’re starting the planning now for another one for June 2015 based upon the 100 days – of course!

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